Number crunching through two scrimmages

Was crunching some numbers from Wyoming’s first two scrimmages of fall camp to try and come to some conclusions on who we might see play this season. Here’s what I came up with.

At quarterback, true freshman Brett Smith has the best numbers so far. He’s 39 of 51 (76.5 completion percentage) for 483 yards with four TDs and one INT. His yards-per-completion is 12.4. Smith has ran the No. 1 offense in both scrimmages, and based on those numbers I would guess he will continue to.

Junior-college transfer Colby Kirkegaard seems to have an edge over true freshman Adam Pittser right now in the backup battle. He is 35 of 46 (76.1 completion percentage) for 221 yards with no TDs or INTs. Pittser is 24 of 53 (45.3 percent) for 210 yards with a TD and a INT. Both guys played better in last Friday’s second scrimmage compared to the first last Tuesday. I’ve been impressed with Kirkegaard’s accuracy, although he hasn’t attempted a lot of deep throws.

At running back, sophomore Brandon Miller has ran 19 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, and a team-best 7.7 yards per carry (thanks in large part to a 53-yard run Friday). Junior Alvester Alexander has the most carries at 24 for 104 yards and three TDs. True freshman Kody Sutton has 23 carries for 114 yards. All three have shown some good things, and we’ve yet to see junior Ghaali Muhammad (injury). I think UW will be fine at running back, whoever gets the carries.

Sophomore Robert Herron and redshirt freshman Sam Stratton are the top receivers so far with 11 catches apiece. Senior Mazi Ogbonna has eight catches for 150 yards and two TDs, including a 76-yard touchdown. Miller has caught seven passes for 77 yards out of the backfield. Among the true freshmen receivers, Dominic Rufran has 12 catches for 65 yards, Trey Norman has five catches for 50 yards and Josh Doctson has four for 17. I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of them play this season.

Perhaps most impressive than anything from the receivers so far? Only three dropped passes in the first two scrimmages.

Haven’t seen a lot of movement or experimentation along the offensive line so far, which I think is good as the coaches must like what they’re seeing. Seniors Clayton Kirven and John Hutchins each have took turns playing with the No. 1 offense at right tackle. Wouldn’t be surprised if that continues all season.

Defensively, junior-college transfer linebacker/defensive end Korey Jones has been spectacular with 12 tackles, including five for loss. True freshman defensive end Eddie Yarbrough has six sacks. I really like the looks of this kid and could see him playing this season. Sophomore linebacker Todd Knight is taking advantage of his opportunity with some injuries at the position with 16 tackles. I would like to see how this defense can play when it gets some of its other LBs back like senior Brian Hendricks and true freshman Mark Nzeocha.

Other than Yarborough, I’ve been impressed with true freshman cornerback Blair Burns, who has 10 tackles, two pass break-ups and one tackle for loss in the two scrimmages. He saw a lot of time with the No. 2 defense in the second scrimmage. He could be a solid nickel back behind senior Tashaun Gipson and sophomore Marqueston Huff.

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Here are some links to stories for some of UW’s 2010 opponents. Note the trouble brewing at Colorado State.

http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/08/11/turnovers-most-important-stat-wildcats-2011

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110814/SPORTS/108140352/CSU-suspends-3-due-rule-violations

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/13/sdsu-riddle-one-ball-four-starting-tight-ends/

http://www.lvrj.com/sports/unlv-freshman-jefferson-steps-into-void-as-qb-s-key-protector-127677558.html

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/08/14/1759969/defense-dominant-in-first-scrimmage.html

http://www.golobos.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/081411aac.html

http://www.gazette.com/sports/cobb-123199-fullback-steffon.html

Hope you will check out and vote in the new poll question on the blog. Another possible shake-up in terms of the college athletics landscape could be coming if Texas A&M and others go to the SEC. I don’t see this move having an impact on the Mountain West. If others follow A&M’s lead and leave the Big XII, then things could get interesting. But even then, I see the MW being OK and surviving all this. Thoughts?

Also hoping to do another live chat for Tuesday’s third scrimmage at UW. Will post more on that on Monday.

8 thoughts on “Number crunching through two scrimmages

  1. Thanks for the detail RG a nice early snapshot. It appears that Coach C is getting a good look at all of his tools on ‘O’. I know it’s early but I have two questions. First, what about our return game both kickoff and punt. What’s your prediction on who handles those duties for us. Especially punts, Leonard was solid for us, so who steps up in your opinion? Secondly, on offense if you had to name your starters for Sept 3rd today who are your choices?

    • They haven’t done a lot of live kicking and putting or kicking in the scrimmages, but either Huff or Ogbonna would likely return punts and Huff and Alexander on kickoffs.

      As for projected starters for the opener:

      Offense
      QB: Smith
      RB: Miller starts but Alexander gets most of the carries
      WR/TE: Herron, Ogbonna, McNeill, TJ Smith
      OL: Magnuson and Given at tackle, Self and Strong at guard and Carlson at center

      Defense
      DL: Knapton, Biezuns, Purcell, Durbin or Taufa’asau
      LB: Jones, Hendricks, Harris
      DB: Huff and Gipson at corner, Ruff and Browder at safety

      RG

      • Robert,
        Looking at these names you’ve listed here, would you say that this is a better line-up over the 2009 and 2010 squads? I personally like what I see here and the best part is these guys are still young! There seems to be solid base developing here by coach C. Do you have more “gaurded optimisim” than in years past? I had to put you on the spot a little! 🙂
        Thanks,
        Brian

        • I think the talent level is better overall. Although the D-line in 2009 was better. I can see this team win seven games if all goes well.

          RG

  2. Pittser will come on quickly, guy has skills- this is a very complex O. On Friday what I noticed was that these QB’s were not looking to run first like in the past. The footwork seems to be much better and receivers were getting some space to get the ball in. With alternative backs available, I would not be surprised to see Sutton, Ghaali, Miller and Alexander in the backfield and Studnicka as well- if he’s not injured. Christensen will give a look at all QB’s early to see what these kids have. It could be fun. Our D could be vastly improved on the edges, and no doubt Yarborough is a dynamite young player.

    • I agree with you on Pittser. He just needs some time. I also like how Smith can run if needed. Look for CB Blair Burns to keep moving up the depth chart.

      RG

  3. Have you seen any of the power formation with a fullback, or was DC just giving that Mizzou reporter a bunch of bull?

    • I’ve seen it a few times in short yardage situations in the first two scrimmages and when the offense is deep in its own territory. It’s a part of the offense but definitely not its bread and butter.

      RG

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